Kandinsky and Chagall Triumph at Bonhams New York Impressionist and Modern Art Sale

New YorkEinige Spitzen (Several Points) by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky sold for $3,270,313 at Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art Sale in New York on Tuesday 17 November. It had an estimate of $1,800,000-2,500,000. At the same sale, a stage curtain designed, created, and painted by Marc Chagall for the Metropolitan Opera's 1967 production of Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' sold for $990,313 against an estimate of $250,000-450,000.

Bonhams Director, Impressionist & Modern Art, US, Molly Ott Ambler said: "Einige Spitzen is an outstanding example of Kandinsky's hallmark amalgam of science, mathematics, spirituality, and sentiment, while Chagall's curtain for the Finale of The Magic Flute radiates with the most well-known of his iconography – trumpeting angels, fantastical animals playing instruments, floating violins, cellos, and dancers. Both very different works but equally important, beautiful and appealing. I'm not surprised they sold for such impressive sums."

Kandinsky executed Einige Spitzen (Several Points) in 1925. It encapsulates the artist's formal and philosophical ideals of this period when he was teaching at The Bauhaus, the school established in 1919 by the architect Walter Gropius in Weimar, and founded on the radical concept of dissolving the distinction between the fine arts and the applied arts. Kandinsky's light teaching schedule meant he was able to devote much of his time to his own research and projects.

Chagall created the Finale curtain for the final triumphant scene of The Magic Flute and it evokes a world of lyrical childhood memories – a ritual music scene, the figures embodying the archetypal characters seen throughout the artist's work. Chagall worked on the project for three years, designing more than 120 costumes, 26 objects for the sets, and 13 backdrops measuring 20 meters high. To ensure a successful execution of his sketches, Chagall discussed every detail of the costumes and scenery with the Russian designer, Volodia Odinokov.

The sale also featured Alm und Firn by Alfons Walde (1891-1958). Walde stands as an early frontrunner of Modernism, applying avant-garde styles and depictions of his daily observations and life in the snowy Alps. Native to the Tyrol, Walde's deep personal connection to the region shines through in the way he conveyed the rugged landscape and its tenacious inhabitants, subjects the artist had known his entire life. The work sold for $537,813 (estimate: $70,000-100,000).


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